For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you might not have heard that “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar is heading back to the UFC for a one-off fight at UFC 200 against a man named Mark Hunt.
Let me introduce you to the man they call the Super Samoan.
Hunt was originally known as a kickboxer, primarily fighting for the K-1 promotion out of Japan, and amassed an impressive record of 30 wins and 13 losses, beating the likes of Gary Goodridge, Stefan Leko and Jérôme Le Banner before starting his mixed martial arts career with PRIDE. Over the five years Hunt spent fighting MMA in Japan, his record was less than stellar and after eleven bouts, he found himself with a record of 5-6. At 35 years old, it looked like his professional fighting career was coming to an end. However, upon signing for the UFC, it breathed a new lease of life into his career, and he went 4-1 in his first five fights and today he stands with a UFC record of seven wins, four losses and one draw; in those seven wins however, six have been via knockout.
Then we look at his opponent Brock Lesnar. By any standards, Lesnar is a behemoth of a human being, but during his tenure with the UFC, it was clear that he was in a world of pain towards the end of his run. A severe bout with diverticulitis ran Lesnar into the ground, and he was competing nowhere near his best, but still managed to win against the likes of Randy Couture and Shane Carwin. The one big problem Lesnar faced was his chin; in his last three fights for the UFC, Lesnar was knocked down or knocked out in all three, and it was only due to Carwin’s lack of stamina that he couldn’t capitalise further on the fallen beast during their fight at UFC 116.
Considering Hunt is known for having the ability to knock any man out, is it wise for the Super Samoan to be Lesnar’s opponent? Consider this from WWE’s standpoint; if they send their beast to a different promotion, only for him to get his ass handed to him within a matter of minutes, how will that come off to any WWE fans who happen to watch his fight?
The implications could be huge, as essentially, their strongest fighter had just been knocked out by a 42-year-old man – a very tough 42-year-old man – but that won’t change how Lesnar’s image could diminish in the fans eyes.
This one simple match could tarnish the legacy that The Undertaker will leave behind, after all, not only did Lesnar conquer the much fabled undefeated streak at WrestleMania, but he then bested ‘Taker over the course of three pay-per-views last year. If Lesnar does indeed lose to Hunt, then him being billed at this unstoppable beast will be a thing of the past, and all WWE fans will remember is the fact that this man beat The Undertaker’s streak.
Then think how this by proxy shows up other wrestlers who have tried to break the streak – Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane and Batista. None of them could beat The Undertaker on the “Grandest Stage Of Them All”, but Lesnar could.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by ESPN, and they asked Lesnar’s advocate a lot of the questions we’ve all been thinking:
“Lesnar is often billed as the unbeatable beast of the WWE. The question most people have is whether the gimmick still works if he loses at UFC 200?
My father was an attorney in the state of New York, which is where I came up with the term advocate. Very famously, a judge once said to my father, “If, if, if, if …” And my father said to the judge, “I don’t deal in ifs, I deal in absolutes. If my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle. She doesn’t, so she’s still my aunt and not my uncle.” I don’t deal in ifs. Here’s an absolute: Brock Lesnar is stepping into the Octagon on July 9 against Mark Hunt. Here is an absolute: Brock Lesnar is appearing at WWE SummerSlam on Aug. 21. Here’s an absolute: Brock Lesnar will be featured on the cover of “WWE 2K17” on Oct. 11. I can’t deal in ifs in hypothetical situations. I only deal in absolutes. Whatever happens in that Octagon will likely affect things moving forward, but let’s wait until July 9.”
“If Lesnar gets a medical suspension from his bout against Hunt, would the WWE honor that at SummerSlam?
I have absolutely no knowledge of WWE’s position on such a circumstance, plus I would be speculating and it’s a hypothetical. On this one I have to take a respectful pass because it’s not something I have discussed. I don’t know if Brock has discussed it with WWE. I doubt that he has. That’s a question that is better answered by Vince McMahon himself.”
ESPN raise a great point there – with Lesnar billed to compete at SummerSlam, if he obtained a concussion fighting Hunt, that could severely impact his role during WWE’s biggest show of the Summer. We’ve seen in the past how adversely concussions can affect careers in WWE, so it’ll be interesting to see how WWE would deal with that if it does occur.
It’s a huge risk, which in turn does not seem to present many benefits to the WWE. Sure, I imagine the UFC will promote SummerSlam, which could bring in a few extra viewers or subscribers to the WWE Network, but to say that would be worth everything Lesnar has built up over the last four years would be insane.
Could it be that WWE have the UFC’s permission to sign Ronda Rousey up for a match at WrestleMania? That’s not for me to say in the slightest, but that could be a potential bargaining chip that has already been cashed in.
However, while Lesnar was unfortunately not able to compete at his best during his UFC tenure due to diverticulitis, he now may suffer at the hands of ring rust. It’s been seen many a time that an extended period away from the Octagon can affect a fighter negatively, and I don’t believe anybody has taken almost five years away before returning.
It seems like an insane idea to have Lesnar fighting again, but with Britain leaving the EU, England losing to Iceland in the Euros and Dean Ambrose as the WWE Champion, maybe insane is just the new norm.